Kenyon Woods Middle School principal retires

Updated 2/27/2012 2:41 PM
  • Sue Welu

    Sue Welu

Like a proud mother, Kenyon Woods Middle School Principal Sue Welu has enjoyed sitting back and watching as her "children" -- the teachers, students and community -- have grown.

Welu, who helped open the South Elgin school in 2004, will retire at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.

"This is my 33rd year (in education) and I enjoy my job," Welu said. "But it was just the right time for myself personally. I love the teachers, I love the kids and I love the community and parents. It was a bittersweet decision."

A product of Elgin Area District U-46, Welu started her teaching career in the district in 1979 as a special-education teacher. She taught at Parkwood and Laurel Hill elementary schools in Hanover Park, as well as Heritage Elementary school in Streamwood before jumping to special education at Tefft Middle School in Streamwood.

Almost by accident, Welu said, she became an administrator and in 1991 started as assistant principal at Canton Middle School in Streamwood.

"I never really had plans to become a principal," Welu said. "But I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason."

Superintendent Jose Torres described Welu as "awesome."

"She has always impressed me as a leader of leaders," Torres said. "She has created leaders at the school. And there's a number of principals who have been mentored and developed through Sue's leadership. She will be sorely missed."

Welu said she never left the middle school level because she loves the age group. Having spent more than 20 years in middle schools, Welu estimated she had dealt with about "a gazillion" kids.

"They're crazy," Welu said with a chuckle. "Everyday is different. We realize their decision-making powers aren't there 100 percent, so we try to walk them through to help them make a better decision next time."

The middle school level is a critical period in a child's education as they make decisions leading into high school and beyond, Welu said.

"There's nothing more amazing than when a former students comes back to visit when they are in college," Welu said. "They'll say they're back to observe because they loved their middle school math teacher."

In retirement, Welu said she plans to travel and spend time with her family.

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